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Monday, February 7, 2011

Do You Read What I Read?

I'm just curious about what people read for fun. My husband over at Nerdy But Good At It does not read fiction much. His most common tagline over there is "And people wonder why I stopped reading fiction". He does read some fiction, but it's usually a comic book here, a childhood favorite there, a Seuss or a Silverstein to the kids, a character background from his players or in a game manual, like that.

I on the other hand, read everything. I have preferences, of course, like anyone, but I'll read anything that will hold still for it. As a favorite character in a favorite book says, "I read in the tub, I read on the john, I read in bed, I read when I eat alone, and I would read in my sleep if I could keep my eyes open." As to what I read, well, as I said, anything. But favorites are another matter. Some favorites include:
  • Old-school sci-fi, primarily:
    • Asimov (I like his short stories and the Robots novels, not really a fan of Foundation)
    • Bradbury (sci-fi? horror? mystery? D - all of the above?)
    • Burroughs (specifically John Carter of Mars)
    • Clarke (Rama and Odyssey more than his others)
    • Heinlein (source of the quote above, and in spite of his habitual hawkishness, which comes through clearly in his fiction)
  • Classic "Quest" Fantasy (I far prefer the quest stories to the battle stories). Hence:
    • I love The Hobbit and the Fellowship of the Ring, but am somewhat meh on The Two Towers and The Return of the King
    • Pretty much anything by Eddings is the comfort food of literature to me, especially The Mallorean
    • Likewise, I heart most Lackey (urban fantasy or otherwise); the Pern and Crystal series by Anne McCaffrey, all of Rowling; all the Narnia books except the last half of Prince Caspian and the final book, The Last Battle, and all the Oz books I've read. Whether one cares for the writing style or not, these are good stories full of Questing and Conflict Between Good and Evil (or, per one of the  beloved sorcerers in the Mallorean, between "Them and Us")
  •  Other speculative fiction:
    • Diane Duane (both her Star Trek stuff and the Young Wizards)
    • Shari S Tepper (specifically The Gate to Women's Country and Beauty)
    • Most things by Robin McKinley, especially her treatment of fairy tales
  • Romantic Thriller/Supernatural Romance/Mystery
    • I like most things that Nora Roberts has written that are not her category romances; she's excellent at characterization and scrupulous about her research. Although I've never read any of her slightly-futuristic J.D. Robb books
    • I really enjoy Charlaine Harris, but surprisingly, I far prefer almost any of her recent works to the True Blood series. True Blood is fine, just not my favorite of her stuff
    • Diane Mott Davidson has some fun "cozy mysteries". With decent recipes. I've made some chocolate drop cookies from one of those, as well as bacon-wrapped artichokes. Yum.
  •  That elusive genre I like to call "modern literature". The bookstores just call it "fiction"
    • Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella)
    • Marian Keyes
    • Maeve Binchy
  • Classics (aside from the classics of sci-fi and fantasy listed above)
    • Most things by Louisa May Alcott
    • Most things by L.M. Montgomery
    • The three best-known books by Frances Hodgson Burnett (I especially like doing the different accents when reading aloud to the kids)
    • Jane Eyre
    • Roots
    • Gone With the Wind
There are a huge number of things I read as a kid that I will take out once every ten or twelve years - those I still have, of course, that have not made it to Half Price Books yet, because I am saving them for the kids to read or whatever - and read myself sick (figuratively speaking). For instance, when pregnant with Lizzy (so almost four years ago now), I had a week of old Nancy Drew books - about twenty of the fifty or so we have in storage. There are also a number of Piers Anthony's Xanth books waiting for the kids to be old enough to read (from a maturity perspective, not a reading-level one) and a lot of Dragonlance ditto. Just before hubby and I met (so call it six years ago) I scared my thirty-something self all over again with John Christopher's Tripod series.

Good times.